Maserati Quattroporte Review

Maserati Quattroporte Review

Certain things just sound sexier in other languages, like fancy French perfumes labeled "eau de toilette" and fancy Italian "four-door" luxury sedans called "Quattroporte." But the Maserati Quattroporte is more than a deceptively sexy name; it's a beautiful, performance-oriented Italian luxury car endowed with ample power, sharp handling and two impressive transmissions that make it the closest thing you can get to a Ferrari sedan. The fact that Maserati and Ferrari are sister companies make that more than just a metaphor.

Despite weighing about 4,400 pounds, the Maserati Quattroporte manages to feel like a car half its size with well-weighted steering, limited body roll and a captivating eagerness to change direction. Contributing to this is Maserati's "Skyhook" adjustable suspension, controlled by a button on the dash. Skyhook can be set to the more comfortable "Normal" mode or the noticeably firmer "Sport" setting -- both calibrated on the supple side on the Automatic model to better suit American tastes.

The Maserati Quattroporte isn't the cheapest or fastest performance luxury sedan on the block, but if you like to drive and enjoy ample doses of Italian character, this sexy four-door will speak to you like few other four-doors can.

Current Maserati Quattroporte

The Maserati Quattroporte is a performance luxury sedan offered in base, S and Sport GT S trims. All are impeccably well equipped, but the latter two get a number of sport-oriented upgrades including adjustable suspension dampers (S), fixed sport-tuned dampers (GT S), bigger wheels and brakes, and unique trim. However, the most notable difference is the upper trims' 4.7-liter V8 that produces 425 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque -- the base Quattroporte has a 4.2-liter V8 with 400 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque. Both come only with a six-speed automatic transmission that features manual-override shift paddles.

As a low-volume, high-end luxury car, the Maserati Quattroporte can be customized to meet individual needs with a variety of cabin trims and leather colors that can be mixed and matched. Seating is comfortable for touring and tailored for four courtesy of the rear seat's aggressive contours. The handsome dash and console include a touchscreen navigation and multimedia interface. All the modern electronic goodies expected from a high-end luxury sedan (iPod interface, surround-sound audio, digital music storage, satellite radio) are also present.

Most consumers will be best served by the base Quattroporte, which is hardly "base." It still provides more athletic handling than virtually all competitors, while treating its owner to an opulent driving environment. For driving enthusiasts with Ferrari dreams but sedan realities, the S and GT S should be pure automotive nirvana.

Used Maserati Quattroporte Models

After a decade's absence, the latest Maserati Quattroporte debuted for the 2005 model year with a single transmission -- the quirky five-speed automated manual. Dubbed DuoSelect, its automatic mode tended to shift unevenly in traffic and its operation was a bit unorthodox. Even when you were using the paddle shifters to change gears yourself, the car had the tendency to herk and jerk around at low speeds. As such, it didn't suit many American luxury car buyers. The present six-speed automatic became an option for 2007, while it became the lone transmission the following year when DuoSelect was discontinued. This change is the most important factor when considering a Quattroporte.

However, there were other changes. There was originally only one trim level with many optional features that would later become standard. This Quattroporte featured a 395-hp 4.2-liter V8 attached to DuoSelect. For 2006, the lineup was expanded to include the Sport GT and top-of-the-line Executive GT trim levels. Performance hardware like 20-inch wheels, better brakes and sport-tuned DuoSelect were included with the Sport GT, while the Executive GT was essentially Maserati's luxury limo with items like Alcantara upholstery and massaging front seats. All trims were available with DuoSelect and the traditional automatic for '07. The latter featured a different grille and center console design, along with 9 more lb-ft of torque from the 4.2-liter V8 (which increased to 400 hp in all models). For '08, the Sport GT became the Sport GT S.

The biggest changes thus far occurred for 2009 when the current trim and engine lineup debuted. Exterior styling was also tweaked with revised headlights, a new grille and taillights -- although none are so drastic that they would dissuade you from an earlier Maserati Quattroporte. The Bose touchscreen multimedia system might, though, since the earlier system for controlling the navigation and stereo systems was outdated, ergonomically poor and very button-happy.